Nicholas v Ely Beet Sugar Factory Ltd: CA 1936

The plaintiff owned several fisheries and sought damages after the defendant polluted the riner. He was unable to prove any actual loss.
Held: Disturbance of a several fishery was an invasion of a legal right, and in such a case the injury to the legal right carried with it the right to damages. The plaintiff had an incorporeal hereditament in the fishery and also property in the fish found in the fishery. Commenting on Fitzgerald -v- Firbank: ‘That therefore defines the right, and it also defines the cause of action which follows from an infringement of that right. It is not, I think, material to decide whether the proper description of that cause of action is trespass, or trespass on the case or nuisance, forms of action which are now abolished. If it were described as ‘nuisance’ the word ‘nuisance’ would be used in that connection as meaning a private nuisance, one which involved an interference with a private right, so that, as I shall explain in a moment, an action would lie for that interference.’


Lord Wright MR


[1936] 1 Ch 346


England and Wales


ExplainedFitzgerald v Firbank 1897
The owner of a right of fishing asserted a cause of action without proof of special damage against someone who had polluted the river in which the right was exercised.
Held: A right of fishing was of such a nature that a person who enjoyed it . .
CitedHarrop v Hirst 1868
The inhabitants of a named district, Tamewater, in the parish of Saddleworth, claimed a right to take water from a spout in the highway The claim was for diverting water.
Held: The right was upheld. An action for diverting water is . .

Cited by:

CitedWatkins v Secretary of State for The Home Departmentand others CA 20-Jul-2004
The claimant complained that prison officers had abused the system of reading his solicitor’s correspondence whilst he was in prison. The defendant argued that there was no proof of damage.
Held: Proof of damage was not necessary in the tort . .
CitedNetwork Rail Infrastructure Ltd v Williams and Another CA 3-Jul-2018
Japanese Knotweed escape is nuisance
The defendant appealed against an order as to its liability in private nuisance for the escape of Japanese Knotweed from its land onto the land of the claimant neighbours. No physical damage to properties had yet been shown, but the reduction in . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Torts – Other

Updated: 16 May 2022; Ref: scu.199941